An inspired Pau Gasol guided Spain into the EuroBasket final ©AFP/Getty Images

Spain came from behind to secure an 80-75 overtime victory over the host nation France in their EuroBasket semi-final clash in Lille, but much of the credit for their triumph must go to Pau Gasol who produced an inspired individual display.

With a potentially epic encounter between the 2011 champions Spain and the current holders France on the cards, a record crowd of 26,922 had packed into the Pierre Mauroy Stadium, with their faith set to be rewarded by a confrontation that matched the high expectancy.

Buoyed by their home support France edged the opening quarter of the contest and earned a 20-17 advantage, to give them early hope of repeating their victory over Spain at this stage two-years ago.

On that occasion the tie had to be settled in overtime as well so it was no surprise that the match continued to be extremely tightly fought as Spain hit back in the second quarter to close the gap to just a single point heading into the half-time break, with the score reading 33-32 in favour of the hosts.

However, the lead was stretched as France won the third quarter 23-16 to boast an eight-point advantage heading into the final period of the match.

As Spain stared down the barrel of a second successive semi-final exit, with only six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and the score reading 61-52 to their opponents, one of their stars needed to spark a revival and they had just the man in Gasol who has starred at this tournament.

The Spaniard began a personal crusade of closing the gap with two successful free throws which was the start of an eight point run for the 35-year-old as he swung the match in his side's favour.

But with Spain on the verge of completing a comeback victory, Nicolas Batum leveled the scores at 66-all with a nerveless three pointer with just 13 seconds remaining.

Three missed free throws from France's Nicolas Batum proved costly in overtime ©AFP/Getty Images
Three missed free throws from France's Nicolas Batum proved costly in overtime ©AFP/Getty Images

It would only prove a stay of execution for the French team as they were unable to prevent an inspired Gasol from hauling his team into the final, which earned Rio 2016 qualification, as he scored another six points in overtime to give Spain a 78-75 lead, before Batum missed three consecutive free throws to give France the opportunity to level the match once again.

His misses would prove costly as Gasol slam dunked to add another two points to his team's tally to give them a 80-75 win, having contributed exactly half of their overall points.

"It was an incredible game, so hard-fought by both teams and an extremely difficult game to win here in France against a big team, I am very happy and proud for our team," the Spanish hero stated afterwards.

Spain, who as a result of the win have earned a spot at Rio 2016, will now await the winners of the second semi-final and they could face a possible rematch of the 2011 final should Serbia overcome Lithuania tomorrow.

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